What is True Surrender?
by Jayaram V
What is true surrender? It is not just prostrating yourself in front of an image of God when you visit a temple or perform a ritual at home. That act of prostrating in front of God’s breathing image is just a physical form of surrender, an expression of either your innocence or your cunningness. In that surrender you are not completely lost. You have not forgotten your identity, duality and desires.
You are still there, most of the time seeking and wanting, asking for things you do not have, and waiting for miracles to happen to become that special person God wants to love. It is not true surrender. It is surrender to desire and to a vision of yourself as a worshipper relying upon the hidden powers of the universe to manifest your cherished goals, dreams and desires. It is surrender to life’s longing to unite with the things of Nature and become an instrument of desire.
True surrender is higher than that. It is surrendering desire itself, not surrendering to desire. It is giving yourself to God, the silent power that may never respond to your prayers and calls, without expectations. It is putting yourself at His feet, becoming that flower, or the flame, or the fruit you usually offer to Him. It is becoming the offering, rather than the offerer, the sacrifice rather than the sacrificer. In that sacred ritual, you do not offer mantras, but only your silence. It is a ritual, in which you communicate with Silence, through silence and by silence.
In Hindu tradition, we recognize it as true devotion. Bhakti (devotion) means offering. You may mistake devotion for an emotion tinged with desire or an act of seeking through rituals; but in true devotion desire and seeking are absent, except the desire to lay at the feet of the universe and letting go of your will and desire to guard your life and ambition. True devotion is an act of silence, without drama. God, the omniscient one, does not need that drama to acknowledge your devotion. He understands your silence, without the need for words and gestures.
True devotion is not possible without complete surrender. Performing a ritual to fulfill your desire through the power of God is not an act of devotion. It is a mere declaration of your devotion to your desires and attachment. In that you are not giving yourself away. You are merely using a means of communication to accumulate things and burden yourself with the weight of karma. In that you seek security in exchange for a few offerings that do not really belong to you anyway.
True surrender flows from true renunciation, at the end of a long and arduous spiritual effort, when you have understood the true meaning of devotion. In that surrender there is no effort, a natural expression of joyful giving filled with love, compassion, understanding and wisdom. In surrendering to God you surrender to life and let it flow. True surrender means, you open yourself to life’s innumerable opportunities and challengers without conditions, preference, fear or choice. It means you willingly offer yourself to become an instrument in the hands of God, and dedicate your life to His cause. It is true surrender.
With that comes true freedom. In that surrender you experience the flow of life, the opportunity to be in the present, without the compulsion to seek things to enhance your pride or your security. In that freedom, you do not acknowledge any authority outside you but your own wisdom and intelligence rooted in the thoughts of the Self, and you learn about life and existence in the choiceless awareness that naturally arises in you as a sign of your inner freedom from the desire to become and to have.
Surrender is an act of devotion, and devotion is an expression of surrender. Both are best performed in the ritual of silence. When you surrender, you fall into silence. You become a true muni. You become an autumn leaf in the winds of life. You let life happen. You let the forces of life control you, dictate you, victimize you and see the dance of Death everywhere and in everything, without being troubled by it. It is the same god of Death mentioned in the Upanishads as the First Born and witnessed by Arjuna in the Bhagavadgita. When you truly surrender, you make peace with Death and watch its devouring power without fear and aversion.
May God bless and protect you and…
May you always be
Safe and Comfortable
Seth Kelly Curtis